Archive | October, 2013

Charlotte Ziebarth learns persistence pays

I have entered Quilt National nine times over the 20 years I have been making quilts.  Eight of those times I did not get in.

In 2013, the judges selected my piece, Reverberations: Yellowstone Waters for the show. I can’t tell you how excited I was. I am honored to be in the company of so many fine quilt artists, friends, and previous teachers and authors. In addition, winning the Hillary Morrow Fletcher Persistence Pays Award truly does show other artists that there is a reason to keep trying to be accepted in major quilt exhibitions.

Charlotte Ziebarth speaks at the opening of Quilt National 2013 in Athens, OH

Charlotte Ziebarth speaks at the opening of Quilt National 2013 in Athens, OH

Reverberations: Yellowstone Waters is composed of slightly manipulated photos I took of geyser pools in Yellowstone National Park. This quilt is part of my water series–images of various kinds of water, reflections in water, still water, flowing water, water marks. While it looks swimming pool cool the geyser pool is actually very hot.  I like that visual/psychological duality. We usually think of that shade of turquoise as being cool and refreshing, yet I can still feel/remember the heat intensity of that steamy geyser walk. It shows there are no hard rules about the psychological meaning of specific colors.

Digital tools broaden my fiber work

Detail of Reverberations by Charlotte Ziebarth

Detail of Reverberations: Yellowstone Waters by Charlotte Ziebarth

I print my images on charmeuse silk. It feels good to work with and it takes the ink colors strongly and reflects them back to the viewer in an intense way.  After transferring the images to fabric in this piece, I embroidered and emphasized water rings, floating objects and bubbles with stitching. Repetition is always a part of my art work, and repeating blocks of the same image is very much in the quilt tradition.

My enthusiasm for combining digital art and photography with cloth and stitching has not abated over the 12 years that I have been exploring the possibilities. I have learned so much since my first attempts to put my nature photographs on cloth in 2001. In 2008 I wrote a book, Artistic Photo Quilts, available in print or ebook from, since then my work has become more abstract.  I like close up views of the natural and the man made world. Focusing in on the details captures the essence of the experience and gives me a feeling of discovering and exploring aspects we often don’t take the time to see.

The computer/printer combination has proved to be a fabulous tool for fiber artists.  In Quilt National 2013 there are at least 23 artists using digital tools in some way, several of them prize winners and with purchase options. For a tool that wasn’t widely available 25 years ago we have come a long way. We all use these tools in different ways. I was overwhelmed to see these gorgeous and thought provoking layered textiles in person in Athens.

Currently I am working on more constructed work which involves layering with Photoshop as well as actual physical layering of the cloth to achieve a less photographic look and a more “imagined” result. My quilt entitled Messages in the Stones, has recently been shown at SAQA’s Text messages exhibit in Houston.

Charlotte Ziebarth

Charlotte Ziebarth

Although Charlotte has a background teaching academic psychology, she has worked with art and cloth all her life as a dyer, tapestry weaver, clothing designer, knitter, and quilter. After many years working principally as a weaver she fell in love with digital art possibilities and presently concentrates on creating digital imagery printed on fabric and assembled into quilt art.

When not working at her computer or in her sunny quilting studio, she can be found reading, knitting, listening to opera, hiking in the mountains with her camera, or trying to tame her messy, leafy garden. Her experience as an artist-in-residence in Rocky Mountain National Park remains a strong influence.  She was born in Chicago and raised in the Midwest. She has lived with her husband, Ken, in Boulder, Colorado for more than thirty-five years.

See more of Charlotte’s work at

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Studio Art Quilters Association (SAQA) launches new and improved website

new SAQA website home page

The new home page displays art from current shows.

Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., (SAQA) the non-profit organization that promotes the art quilt world-wide has given a fresh face to its website. features upgraded navigation, a new blog focusing on information of interest to collectors, expanded artist member profiles and of course – more images of art quilts.

A place for art quilts in the contemporary art world

Yvonne Porcella, a Quilt National artist and juror, founded the Studio Art Quilters Association in 1989 with the goal of establishing a place for art quilts in the world of contemporary art.  The vision for SAQA was to create an organization to:

  • Promote art quilts to major art publications, museums, and galleries
  • Educate the public about art quilts
  • Serve as a forum for the professional development of quilt artists
  • Act as a resource for curators, dealers, consultants, teachers, students, and collectors

The SAQA website re-design has been a recent priority for the organization, as the membership has grown to 31 countries.  Websites like and provide a bigger voice to artists engaged in the field of contemporary art quilts.

SAQA and Quilt National Artists

According to SAQA Executive Director, Martha Sielman, 81% of Quilt National 2013 exhibitors are SAQA members.  In her article “Art Quilt Trends at Quilt National ’13”, published in the Summer 2013 issue of the SAQA Journal, Ms. Sielman provides her observations of trends she observed in the Quilt National ’13 exhibit at the Dairy Barn, including the use of neutral palettes, dense stitching, and the use of recycled materials.  Her discussion of the techniques and materials used by Quilt National artists suggests that the artwork in the show both reflects and shapes trends of which SAQA’s 3,000 members should be aware.

SAQA Journal cover with Arle Sklar-Weinstein's Truth or Consequences

New website features to promote artists and art

The redesign of the SAQA website provides a clean canvas for images of members work, slide-shows of SAQA exhibitions, and member galleries. Among the new or expanded features of the new website  are:

  • The Art Services Directory, a resource for locating a variety of arts-related services
  • The SAQA Store, now offering collectors the opportunity to purchase the art quilts on tour in exhibitions curated by the group
  • Profiles of members from the I am SAQA program

With an improved navigation scheme, it is straightforward to locate information about the SAQA organization, view quilts by member artists, and even shop for art and art materials.

For more information visit the website at

SAQA is a world-wide resource for information on the art quilt and the artists who create them. In addition to mounting museum-quality exhibitions that travel the world, SAQA documents the art quilt movement through exhibition catalogs and the continuing series of Portfolios, the art quilt sourcebook.

The group creates professional development opportunities for the membership that continue to address the ever-changing needs of the artist. From basic studio management to mastering current technology for both business and artistic purposes, members have access to a treasure trove of support for taking their artwork and career to the next level.
Over the past 25 years, SAQA has evolved into an active and dynamic organization that offers many services to its members as well as to the community at large. The website provides visibility to the accomplishments of the artist members and gives members immediate access to information about exhibition opportunities, announcements of upcoming events and conferences, and other resources.

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Safe Connections presents Quilt National 2013 as a fundraiser event

Will you be a gold, silver or platinum sponsor? That’s the question development director Deb Cottin asks her loyal donors when she begins to organize the biennial exhibition of Quilt National in St. Louis. Safe Connections has a 25-year history of bringing art to the community to support its efforts to reduce the impact and incidence of relationship violence and sexual assault through education, crisis intervention, counseling and support services.

“Our St. Louis presentation of Quilt National has proven that you don’t have to be an arts organization to successfully use an arts event as a highly effective fundraising tool.”

Opening night at the St. Louis University Museum of Art sponsored by Safe Connections.

Opening night at the St. Louis University Museum of Art sponsored by Safe Connections.

A long history of Quilt National presentations

Safe Connections in St. Louis has hosted almost the entire Quilt National collection since 1987. The folks at Safe Connections begin planning their biennial fundraiser event almost two years in advance, negotiating venues, collecting sponsorships and coordinating with the Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center in Athens, Ohio, where the show originates. “We love presenting this exhibition,” says Cottin, Director of Development at Safe Connections.

“We are proud to be a model for raising funds creatively and successfully. St. Louis is a world-class city and Safe Connections is proud to bring the world-class art of Quilt National where it can be appreciated. People drive in from throughout the Midwest to visit St. Louis and see Quilt National.”

In 1987, Safe Connections board member Lynn Friedman Hamilton, a fiber artist herself, proposed that the Quilt National show could become a fundraiser for Safe Connections. She thought it was a good mission fit because quilting is traditionally a women’s art form, and the Safe Connections organization sprang from the women’s movement and focused on serving women. Quilt National today reflects how Safe Connections has changed over the years. The organization has expanded to serve women and men, young and old, the larger circle of those hurt by domestic and sexual violence. Similarly, the art quilting scene has evolved and pieces are now created not just by older women, but also men and younger artists. “The tie between the evolving community of quilt artists and the changing profile of domestic and sexual violence victims work for us as a great way to introduce visitors to Safe Connections. Our free services and the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence in St. Louis are often unrecognized by people outside of the women’s movement and victim services communities. This exhibition helps us spread awareness among a broader audience as we raise crucial funds.”

Individual sponsors support the fundraising effort

Almost all of the funds raised at the Safe Connections presentation of Quilt National are supplied by individuals who act as sponsors for the show. Sponsorship levels range from $250 to $1,000. Sponsors receive varying levels of benefits including their names displayed on banners throughout the five-week show, a hardbound catalog of the quilts, and private tours of the exhibit. Cottin says that most of the sponsorships are from individuals who have a long history of supporting this show. “Quilt National is relatively special in that the sponsorships are given almost entirely by individuals, as opposed to corporations. The individual sponsors of Quilt National are the soul of this event. They know how one-of-a-kind this event is, they love the art and they have committed themselves to addressing domestic and sexual violence in this powerful way.” The show has consistently raised anywhere from $40,000 in its earlier years to as much as $120,000 during one show that coincided with the opening of a new regional gallery space.

When it comes to fundraiser events, the St. Louis community has all the golf tournaments, trivia nights, 5-Ks or sit-down chicken dinners they could want. Internationally recognized fiber art exhibitions…not so much. “Quilt National is our gift and the gift of our sponsors to the St. Louis community. We are proud of our 25-year legacy here and we plan to keep making it happen for the good of our cause and the good of the region.”

This year’s show at the St. Louis University Museum of Art is the first at this location. Admission is free. Cottin says that partnering with the university has been tremendously helpful. The show debuted on September 20 and will continue until October 27.

Contact Kathleen Dawson at the Dairy Barn if you would like to host the show in your community as a fundraiser. She can provide valuable insight on the process.

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In the News–Quilt National Artists at St. Louis University

The work of Quilt National artists currently on view at the St. Louis University art museum is described as both “extraordinary” and “powerful”  in two new articles from Splendid Magazine and the St. Louis University News.

A Splendid Story

Quilt National artists article featured on cover of Splendid MagazineThe current issue of the lifestyle magazine, Splendid, features a short article about Quilt National and the Dairy Barn, along with loads of photos of artwork from Quilt National 2013.

Quilt National ’13 is now on view at the St. Louis University Museum of Art.  If you can’t make it to the museum this month, you can still enjoy photos of quilts in the on-line version of the magazine.


“Viewing the quilts is an extraordinary experience. The sheer array of pieces is extensive and the range of artistic expression is astonishing.”

In the on-line magazine you will see photos of the following works:

  • Patricia Kennedy-Zafred, Descent into Darkness: The Boys of the Mines
  • Miriam Nathan-Roberts, Salt and Pepper
  • Brooke Atherton, SpringField
  • Luanne Rimmel, Enigma with a Flower
  • Carol Goosens, As Summer Slowly Fades
  • Katherine Knauer, Solar City
  • John Lefelhocz, Mona in the Era of Social Butterflies
  • Barbara Schneider, Forest Floor
  • Laura Fogg, Jammin’
  • Susan Polansky, No One But You

Also included is a profile of St. Louis artist, Luanne Rimmel.

Be sure to check out this month’s issue of Splendid Magazine (Volume 2, No. 3) for a glimpse at these terrific quilts.

Threads Worth Thinking About

The St. Louis University News published an article about Quilt National 2013 on September 25 entitled Quilted art: Threads worth thinking about. The author, Emily Drenovsky said:

“The internationally diverse quilters of Quilt National use their craftwork to make broad thought-provoking statements about the world. The show has the power to inspire students to make a difference on a local level with their own gifts and talents.”

Quilt National Artist Sheila Frampton-Cooper

From a Seed by Sheila Frampton-Cooper

Drenovsky’s article featured artwork by Sheila Frampton-Cooper and Cris Fee.
Read the article in its entirety by clicking this link: Quilted art: Threads worth thinking about.

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